Two years ago, in 2020, Sony presented a concept called Vision-S at that year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. That design study previewed where the large entertainment company might go as it pondered entering the automotive sphere.
Sony said at the time that it did plan to produce the vehicle for consumers, that it was just having fun with the design of such a thing. In January 2021, the company announced that it had no intention of getting into the car business.
But as they say, only fools never change their minds. Today at CES 2022, Sony confirmed that it will in fact launch an automotive division called Sony Mobility Inc. This division will explore the company's entry into the electric-vehicle market.
And to add weight to the statement of intent, Sony presented the Vision-S 02, its second concept vehicle (the first is now to be referred to as the Vision-S 01).
Sony has already tested that first prototype on public roads. The creation of a division dedicated to vehicles proves its ambition to launch a range ready to compete with the likes of Tesla, but also a company by the name of Apple, which could well be active in the domain in a few years.
The Vision-S 02 concept is a seven-seat SUV based on the same electric architecture and Sony Cloud platform as the Vision-S 01. At 4.9 meters, it's the same length as the Vision-S 01, but it's a little wider and significantly taller.
The 02 also uses the same two-motor powertrain, with a capacity of 544 hp and a top speed of over 200 km/h.
The bigger news is on the inside. Sony says it " utilises the larger interior space and variations of a seven-seater " to deliver new in-car experiences by drawing on the company's experience in gaming, audio and entertainment. The concept "envelops occupants with a thrilling experience," the company adds.
Features include a fully integrated digital video service called Bravia Core for Vision-S. With a three-dimensional sound field called "360 Reality Audio," the service plays video on both the front panoramic screen and individual rear seat screens. And of course, PlayStation games are also integrated, either through a remote connection to a home console or through streaming via the cloud.
Sony Mobility Inc. will initially work on Vision-S vehicles, which “will help drive the evolution of mobility”. But new division won't just focus on cars. It also aims to develop artificial intelligence and robotics, with the goal of "realising a world where everyone can live in harmony with robots on a daily basis."
This suggests that Sony's Vision-S vehicles will be highly autonomous and set high standards for autonomous driving capability. Already, scenarios are being considered.
A story to follow in 2022.